UK Overseas Territories - a collaboration between Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership, Kew's UKOTs science team and local conservation partners
There are over 270,000 plant species on this planet. One quarter of those plants now face the threat of extinction. Our mission is to protect the seeds of as many of those plants as possible. From sub-Antarctic heath to various kinds of tropical forest, the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs) are home to a diverse range of habitats facing various challenges. Our teams of scientists are working in some of the most remote places on earth to document and collect plants before species disappear forever.
Collecting seeds in the Falkland Islands (Image: RBG Kew)
I enjoyed learning about seed collecting and the role of the Millennium Seed Bank. As a science-teacher turned tourism-marketing-officer, I believe that this sort of work is vital to preserve our future in the Falklands as it plays a role in the conservation of important eco-systems.Louise Taylor, volunteer, Falkland Islands
Plant life in the UKOTs is under threat
As with many island floras across the world, the plants of the UKOTs are under great threat from pressures such as climate change, over-exploitation, habitat loss, and invasive species.
Environment and climate
The UKOTs comprise 16 former colonies that have elected to retain their direct British links and as such form part of the nation state of the UK. They are almost all, with the exception of Gibraltar and the British Antarctic Territory, small islands, and home to a diverse range of habitats.
As a consequence of their isolation the UKOTs have a high rate of endemism (plants found exclusively in particular areas).
Saving seeds for the future in UKOTs
To date, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place holds over 270 different species from the UKOTs in its collections. Kew's UK Overseas Territories science team and Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership are working in collaboration with local conservation partners to make further collections. Their priority is to collect and bank endemic and threatened plant species found in the UKOTs. Banking seeds provides options for the future conservation and utilisation of plants.
Even if they are lost in the wild, we will be able to grow plants for reintroduction, medicines, crop improvements, building materials and so on.
Discover more about our work in UKOTs...
Our team in UKOTs
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